Classics professor gives lecture on upcoming book material

Autumn Sanders

Classics assistant professor Cristina Carusi spoke to an audience Friday on the construction industry in classical Athens. 

Carusi detailed her research in the emergence of specialization in the construction work industry and the study of the legal aspects of public building in Athens, all of which will be featured in her upcoming book, “Public Building in the Athenian Democracy.”

Carusi detailed how the labor industry of Athens grew so quickly and the motives for specialization of labor.

“The demand for construction workers was substantial even when no major projects were being financed,” Carusi said, “That way, when the demand arose, they could quickly meet it.”

Carusi also highlighted the process of construction in Athens and the effects of locals not being able to buy slaves.

“One of the most important things about the slaves was their cost. Most of the labor was done by everyday individuals because they could not afford slave labor,” Carusi said.

Carusi used a variety of models to depict the relationship between the growing labor market and the wages they were being paid.

“It can be easily seen that influx of people into the population was to seek profit through larger scale construction jobs,” said Carusi.

The lecture offered students a new perspective on a very specific portion of Athenian history.

“I think that her talk really emphasized these business junctures and partnerships that we don’t hear about too often in text,” said Christopher Wood, Roman art and architecture graduate student.

University lectures like this one also give students an outlet to explore new interests or learn about new topics outside of their major.

“I learned about an entirely new topic, I feel like it broadens your perspective when you go to talks that aren’t necessarily in your area of interest,” classics senior Regan Talley said.

There are often many misconceptions within the field of classics. Many people believe that classics studies do not have any relevance to other fields, but lecture attendees such as Talley said they felt Carusi’s talk proved otherwise.

“With a field like classics, people think it’ll be ancient and boring but you can really apply it to so many fields,” said Talley.

Carusi’s lecture is one of many the Classics department will be hosting this semester.